Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Changed My Mind About Hell

I was watching the movie, "The Perfect Storm,"  when I started to question my  beliefs about the end result of humanity.(at that time I DID believe in an endless Hell) I was noticing the looks of total resignation on the faces of the fishermen as they realized there was no way to survive the storm they were in, In an instant a scripture popped into my thoughts.   

" But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that 
were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,"

The world was headed for Hell and here I was WATCHING A MOVIE!!!   How much sense does that make?  That was the greatest "life-changing" realization I have had since experiencing faith in Christ.  As you scroll down the page, notice the looks on the actor's faces.... fear, dread and 
hopelessness. I guess that is what really got my attention. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions at the time... fear, shame, regret, shock. I believe God used this movie to shake me up enough to realize what I really believed.....more importantly what I did not believe....

The fishermen in the movie are watching a monster of a wave that is headed straight for them. They know there is no surviving it.

Seeing the hopelessness in the faces of those fishermen caused an explosion in my soul. It forced me to face what I believed about the ultimate outcome of humanity: a fate much worse than death. 
That was eternity in hell.

I was overwhelmed with grief and very ashamed that I didn't care anymore than I did for people. I had been walking with God for about twenty five years at that time and I knew He would answer prayer that was in line with His will. So, I got real honest with Him and confessed that I didn't love 
people, but I wanted to. know God...He changed my heart! I am absolutely in love with people now... Christian and non-Christian alike. We are all made in God's image and are all reconciled to God by Christ.  It is a privilege to love people!  It is a privilege to see God answer prayer!

When I had my "epiphany" at the theatre I became obsessed with hell and who would go there. I found this particular image on a site that shows 31% of the world's population affiliated with Christianity. I found other statistics then but can't find them now but I do remember that 22% of the 31% were Roman Catholic. Well, us good Ole fundamentalists aren't brought up believing that anyone will go to heaven without being born again and that leaves the Catholics out completely.

So, we are left with about 9% that could possibly go to heaven or are we? That 9 % includes Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. For one who was taught that the Missionary Baptists would inhabit the New Jerusalem (because we were the "real" Baptists) and the Southern Baptists would live outside the great city, the picture was bleak indeed. You know, it's a wonder anyone survives religion isn't it?

Finally, I started to question....could we have missed it somehow on this hell thing? Could we have misinterpreted the Bible? Could the Bible have been mistranslated?

I have concluded the answer is YES!

Could it be possible that we just think we believe in an endless Hell?  Have you ever picked up the phone to warn a loved one about a tornado headed their way? A gas shortage? Have you warned visitors to stay away from your house because your family had a stomach virus? Honestly now, how many people do you warn about Hell?

I remember one woman who actually believed in endless hell. Her name is Andrea Yates. She killed all of her children, believing that she was saving them from the possibility of spending eternity in Hell.  As far as she knew she ended their lives before they could reach the age of accountability, reject God, die and go to hell for eternity. Personally, I don't see how anyone in their right mind, who actually carries out the thought process of Hell, could bring a child into this world. 

Saddam Hussein pales in comparison to anyone who would, knowingly, bring a child into the world with the full knowledge that eternity in Hell could be his fate. At least the victims of a terrorist get to die!

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